ATV-1 Reentry

Europe’s space freighter ATV Jules Verne burning up over an uninhabited area of the Pacific Ocean at the end of its mission.

ATV Jules Verne was the first of ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicles to bring supplies to the International Space Station and help keep its orbit 400 km above our planet.

A final deorbit burn at CEST on 29 September 2008 slowed Jules Verne’s velocity by 70 m/s and spacecraft entered the upper atmosphere at an altitude of 120 km at CEST. It broke up at an altitude of 75 km with the remaining fragments falling into the Pacific some 12 minutes later.

The planned reentry into the atmosphere was filmed from a DC-8 aircraft as part of an observation campaign including recording from the Station itself, as well as from two specially-equipped observation planes located in the vicinity of the ATV’s flight path in the skies above the South Pacific. The campaign served to determine whether the vehicle’s breakup matched computer modelling.